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Wolf spikers put in a lot of work, and reaped a lot of benefits, at a four-day camp at Western Washington University. (Photo courtesy Cory Whitmore)

Having tasted big-time success, they want more.

Coming off the program’s first trip to the state tourney in more than a decade, Coupeville High School volleyball players want to keep the good times rolling.

While the Wolves lost seven seniors and jump into a new league this fall, the North Sound Conference, there is still talent to burn.

And, even better, those players who will be the heart of the team, are deeply committed.

CHS coach Cory Whitmore and 11 of his players spent the 4th of July holiday putting in work, refining skills, bonding as teammates and preparing for the season ahead.

Whitmore’s report from the front line:

We had a very strong and productive camp at Western Washington University this past week (July 4-7th).

Year-after-year, the coaches, staff and players of WWU put on a phenomenal camp for athletes of all skills levels and classifications.

Teams are pushed through rigorous individuals position drills, focused team games and practices and special attention from top level college coaches.

One of the facets about this camp that draws us every year is not only the level of intensity of various skills and tournament play, but also WWU’s emphasis on the “overall game.”

This includes a session with the team’s sports psychologist, a goal-setting session, and many different team mini-challenges.

These aspects of the game are crucial to the success of a team in season and few have better team chemistry and cohesion than WWU.

This group was a fun and eager group to travel with and watch grow over the course of four tiring days.

Ashley Menges was voted as a team captain at the end of Wolves Skills Camp in June and did a fantastic job of guiding the team through.

Emma Smith is taking on a heavier load, both physically receiving a strong number of sets at her position as well as becoming a vocal leader for the team.

Both seniors have the most experience and are very inclusive to their younger teammates.

I am really proud of this team’s versatility – team camp is a great time to try different lineups, different offensive and defensive systems and their ability to adapt as a unit was very impressive and encouraging to me as a coach looking forward to the 2018 season.

Sophomore Chelsea Prescott played two different positions over the course of camp and showed her ability to handle a variety of responsibilities and being her first time to this camp, this was especially promising.

Maya Toomey-Stout has worked incredibly hard in the off-season and received the coaches award from our WWU coach – she received accolades for her ability to play a six-rotation and fly around the court, no matter the fatigue or the drill.

Emma Mathusek, Lucy Sandahl, Raven and Willow Vick all played and worked incredibly hard at team camp – camp is a great chance for players to showcase their hard work from the off-season and begin to develop their role and responsibilities on the team.

Zoe Trujillo went down with an ankle injury on the first day, which was rough for her and the team, but she of course remained positive and contributed whenever possible (goal setting, team discussions, mini-challenges, etc.). She should be back at 100% come August.

Before having to leave, Scout Smith and Hannah Davidson too worked very hard and improved upon their respective positions – both received impressed comments from the players and coaches at WWU.

Overall, team camp was exactly was we needed it to be.

Losing seven strong seniors always leaves a large number of “question marks” up in the air. But this camp helped to answer some and challenge players to rise to the occasion presented before them.

This group works very hard and well together. They know the challenges that lay ahead and have great attitudes toward them.

I’m really looking forward to the fall season after a very strong showing this off-season.

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   Lucy Sandahl (left) and Scout Smith are thrilled to be at volleyball camp. (Konni Smith photos)

Scout reunites with Maya Toomey-Stout (left) and Emma Smith.

   Sandahl, Ashley Menges (center) and Payton Aparicio come well-equipped for the multi-day stay.

The Wolves cap a successful camp with a group photo. (Cory Whitmore photo)

Coming off of its best performance in a decade, the Coupeville High School volleyball team is primed to make an even bigger splash this fall.

Helping the Wolves get ready to defend their Olympic League title, coach Cory Whitmore and 11 of his spikers attended an intensive four-day camp at Western Washington University July 5-8.

The view from court-side, courtesy Coupeville’s second-year coach:

Camp lasted a very full four days by normally being on the court by 8 AM and working until 8:30 PM at WWU’s newly remodeled Carver Gymnasium.

Our camp was the first open to summer camps – this put the WWU players and coaches in very excited moods and was fun to be able to have a sneak peek into the new facilities.

This year, we were able to bring along Lauren Rose, Payton Aparicio, Hope Lodell, Mikayla Elfrank, Kyla Briscoe, Ashley Menges, Emma Smith, Scout Smith, Maya Toomey-Stout, Lucy Sandahl and Zoe Trujillo.

It was a great mix of experience and upcoming talent. 

It’s hard for me to choose any one particular stand-out for their growth and/or effort, because every single one grew in some way or another and all put in a huge amount of effort.

I’m proud of the growth this group made as a whole – taking a new mix of girls to camp, some playing different positions, a lot of questions try to get answered while at team camp and I’m encouraged by the direction we took in both meshing as a unit and competing against other teams

Coupeville has been attending WWU Volleyball Team Camp for years now and that kind of familiarity creates consistency for planning and comfortability for coaches and players.

Their program is extremely successful under their coaching staff with a wealth of knowledge to instill upon each program that attends.

I also like the proximity and familiarity our players have to their program. Our players have gotten to know a number of their player over the years which has been fun to watch their progression.

And being that Bellingham is only an hour and a half up the road, we are able to return during the fall season as a team trip and see the Vikings compete themselves.

We were also lucky enough to have the same camp coach from the previous year, senior setter Kristina Tribley.

She was fantastic working with the girls and the two-year connection made the experience even more special for our team.

Another part of this particular camp that I like is that it is not simply a tournament – players work on skills based on individual positions, in small groups, as a team and then regularly compete as a team.

With various type games and focuses, it is not just scrimmaging. Our players were able to grow on numerous levels for various skills.

Throughout the camp, we learned out to focus on “the process” – the WWU program values growth over results and that mentality was instilled into us.

Players had to learn how to be patient and look at the little victories over the results and that fostered a comfortability in making mistakes as a part of growing.

We also made a focus to improve our communication style. As a team, progress was definitely made this camp.

Our last goal was to improve our hitting efficiency.

This was where “the process” was especially key – player had to learn how to lose a point due to a mistake, while celebrating a success in another area of the hit.

By the end of camp, that comfortability in letting mistakes go, translated into confidence which then led to kills.

In addition, our “volleyball IQ” was improved as well (where to place the ball, when to swing away).

After a post-camp, nearly full day of sleep, I’m energized toward our fall season.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the girls take the lessons learned at camp, implementing them throughout the season and spreading that message to other players in the CHS volleyball program.

We have strong leaders on the team that grew as leaders but also helped to teach our younger players how to lead.

That experience is invaluable because it carries throughout summer, this season and into future volleyball season, being further passed down.

At the end of camp, the WWU players (camp coaches) recognize one player from their team deserving of recognition.

Coach Kristina said it was very hard for her to choose just one but she was incredibly impressed with Payton.

Payton was very strong from the service line, extremely consistent in the passing formation, made growth as an attacker and was a rock mentally for the rest of the team.

I could not agree more and I’m very happy Payton was recognized – her efforts in the off-season deserve notice.

Even though Kristin Bridges will not be able to coach this upcoming fall season, she had planned on attending camp with us, but due to early contractions she was hospitalized and roughly two weeks later she gave birth to Grayson Reid Bridges!

We are so excited for her and her family and can’t wait to meet the newest Bridges!

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Emma Smith (Valen Trujillo photos)

   Emma Smith catches a brief moment of phone time in between sessions at a summer volleyball camp in Bellingham. (Valen Trujillo photos)

Tiffany Briscoe

Tiffany Briscoe

Ashley Menges

Ashley Menges

Allison Wenzel

Allison Wenzel

Katrina McGranahan

Katrina McGranahan

Lauren Rose

Lauren Rose

Sarah Wright

Sarah Wright

Kyla Briscoe

Kyla Briscoe

Maddy Hilkey (left) and Ally Roberts

Maddy Hilkey (left) and Ally Roberts

Valen Trujillo is what they call multi-talented.

When the Coupeville High School senior is not busy pounding volleyballs, as she and her teammates did at a four-day Western Washington University summer camp last week, she’s still busy putting her many skills to work.

One of those side projects is snapping portraits of her teammates, as shown in the pics above.

Take note, John Fisken.

There’s a new paparazzi in town and she has an eye for the biz.

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Lindsey

   Wolves (l to r) Lindsey Roberts, Kailey Kellner and Sarah Wright hang out between drills. (Sherry Roberts photos)

Avalon

Avalon Renninger (right) learns the game from college players.

huddle

The players huddle up before taking the floor.

Genna

Renninger and coach are joined by Genna Wright.

laugh

The team that laughs together, kicks butt together.

squad

The Wolfpack.

They sacrificed some of their free time for future success.

Four Coupeville High School basketball players and one plucky middle school hard-court ace traveled to Bellingham this week to attend a summer hoops camp at Western Washington University.

Wolf senior Kailey Kellner, sophomores Lindsey Roberts and Sarah Wright, freshman Avalon Renninger and 8th grader Genna Wright all gave up a bit of their vacation time for the popular event.

It was the first time at the camp for the two youngest Coupeville hoops stars, while the older trio were all returning veterans.

The camp made all the players stretch their skill-set, with most of them put in control of the ball as a point guard.

An increase in battle-hardened ball-handlers could pay huge dividends for the Wolves going forward.

And it’s not the only camp in play this summer for Coupeville girls.

Six Wolves — Kellner, Tiffany Briscoe, Kalia Littlejohn, Allison Wenzel, Kyla Briscoe and Mia Littlejohn –are tentatively slated to attend a shooting clinic at King’s High School in August.

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Campers will get instruction (and maybe autographs) from Wolf players such as Valen Trujillo (4) and Ally Roberts. (John Fisken photos)

  Campers will get instruction (and maybe autographs) from Wolf players such as Valen Trujillo (4) and Ally Roberts. (John Fisken photos)

CHS head coach Breanne Smedley.

CHS head coach Breanne Smedley, your camp director.

Build for the future, now.

The Coupeville Boys & Girls Club is offering summer volleyball camps for players entering grades 3-8, with instruction coming from CHS coach Breanne Smedley and current and former Wolf spikers.

The camps run June 18-20 and costs $30 for one session or $75 for all three (includes camp t-shirt), with registration ongoing at the boys & girls club (203 N. Main).

Sessions will run from 9 AM-noon each day of the camp for players in grades 6-8 and 1-4 PM for those in grades 3-5.

The fundamentals of passing, setting, blocking, attacking and serving will be covered, with work done on basic offensive and defensive systems.

Players will be challenged at their level of ability, with the camp including scrimmages, a tournament, daily awards and drawings.

Smedley, who is entering her second season at the helm of the Wolf program, brings 10+ years of playing and coaching experience to the floor.

She played volleyball at Western Washington University, then coached club volleyball before taking over at CHS.

She’s currently a Physical Education Specialist at Broad View Elementary in Oak Harbor.

Smedley’s goal is to have each camper come away with “an experience that improves his/her volleyball skills in a safe and positive environment.

“Players are encouraged to reach their fullest potential and come away from camp not only with new skills but an enthusiasm for the game,” she added. “We focus on a maximum number of quality ball contacts and give students a high level of attention through a low camper to coach ratio.

“Finally, we expect players to learn and have fun!”

For more information, contact her at breannesmedley@coupeville.k12.wa.us.

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